Five years have indeed passed quickly and, together, we have accomplished a great deal. Much, nonetheless, remains to be done as we embrace what Dartmouth is and what Dartmouth can be. The strategic plan, released in the summer of 2002, outlines goals for each part of this great institution, and they form the core of the upcoming campaign. More immediately, my top priorities are as follows:
- The faculty are at the core of what we do, and we are asking an increasing amount from them. We need to continue to expand and strengthen the faculty of Arts and Sciences to reach our goal of a 10 percent increase in the faculty by 2008. Additional faculty will enable us to reduce the average class size, improve the advising system, increase student/faculty interaction, and cover new fields of study.
- We must continue our work in student life. Our residence halls are overcrowded and we cannot accommodate all the students who want to live on campus. Our main dining facility needs upgrading. We need more social options and facilities controlled by students. We must also work to protect financial aid, our need blind admissions policy, and our commitment to keeping Dartmouth accessible to a wide range of students.
- We have plans for several facilities projects in the near term. These include residence halls to expand and strengthen the residential system, Kemeny Hall for the Department of Mathematics and the companion Academic Centers building, a dining center, an addition to Sudikoff Hall, and the Engineering Sciences building.
- We also need to make progress on the Life Sciences Initiative. A great deal of exciting and important work has transformed the fields of the Life Sciences. Dartmouth, both in the Medical School and within the Arts and Sciences, needs to take advantage of these changes and needs to better prepare our students in these fields. The space currently dedicated to this area of study is cramped and inadequate. Provost Barry Scherr is working with the Executive Vice President for Finance, the Dean of the Medical School, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to discuss how to move forward with the Life Sciences Initiative.
- We are currently working to select an architect for the arts building, which will provide space for the departments of Studio Art and Film and Television Studies in the first phase of the Hop/Hood master plan. Dartmouth has a rich and exciting program in the arts, but we have outgrown the space allocated for these activities and have not been able to keep up with student and faculty needs and interest.
- We must expand and enhance our communications with alumni, acknowledging also that this must be a two-way process - not just because alumni are critical to the financial health of the institution, but because they represent Dartmouth in so many different capacities. Dartmouth alumni are famous for their support and loyalty, but we cannot take those characteristics for granted.
- Finally, we must launch a campaign to ensure funding for new initiatives outlined in the strategic plan.
It is our goal to provide the best student experience and the best undergraduate education in the country. We provide a scale that is personal; a sense of shared, collaborative learning; and a faculty committed to teaching and to working with students. These same values mark the graduate programs as they seek to provide the finest experience for their students, and to do this with faculties who are engaged in the work shaping their fields.
Dartmouth attracts and retains the very best faculty and students in the world and together they make magical things happen. Some of my most gratifying moments as president have included listening to my faculty colleagues talk about their passion for teaching, for a particular area of research, and the relationship between the two; attending student recitals, presentations, and athletic events; meeting informally with students to hear about their experiences and aspirations; participating in recruitment activities and tenure deliberations; meeting with alumni to renew their bonds with the College; and working with my colleagues in the faculty and administration to steward this wonderful institution.
Dartmouth did not become Dartmouth over the last two and one-third centuries by timidity, by complacency, by an absence of ambition. The College is a place vitalized and continually revitalized by a sense of energy and of ambition. I have been honored to serve as Dartmouth's president, and I am eager, with the Dartmouth community, to continue to advance the good work of this great place.